Geomorphology is the study of the Earth's diverse physical land surface features and the dynamic processes that shape these features. Examining natural and anthropogenic processes, The SAGE Handbook of Geomorphology is a comprehensive exposition of the fundamentals of geomorphology that examines form, process, and history in the discipline. Organized into four sections, the Handbook is an overview of foundations and relevance, including the nature and scope of geomorphology, the origins and development of geomorphology, the role and character of theory in geomorphology, the significance of models and abstractions to geomorphology; techniques and approaches, including geomorphological mapping, field observations and experimental design, remote sensing in geomorphology, quantifying rates of erosion, measuring fluid flows and sediment fluxes, dating surfaces and sediment, GIS in geomorphology, and modelling landforms and processes; process and environment, including rock weathering, the evolution of regolith, hill slopes, riverine environments, glacial environments, periglacial environments, coastal environments, desert environments, karst landscapes, environmental change and anthropogenic activity; and environmental change, including geomorphology and environmental management, geomorphology and society, and planetary geomorphology.
Fluvial geomorphology is the study of landforms created by rivers. Rivers are channelized flows larger than gullies or rills, while a landform is an ‘element of the landscape that can be observed in its entirety, and has consistence of form or regular change in form’ (Bloom, 1998). Fluvial landforms cover spatial scales from a few millimeters to more than 1000 km, and they evolve over timescales varying seconds to millions of years (Figure 21.1).
This chapter proceeds from a broad overview of fluvial geomorphology to more specific topics. The first section presents three general categories of knowledge in fluvial geomorphology, followed by discussions of the spatial and temporal scales of interest to fluvial geomorphologists and the research methods currently in use. A classification ...